Lower Heart Disease Risks With Nut Consumption

Nuts and seeds can sometimes be an acquired taste. Some people don’t understand exactly what types of nuts should be included in a healthy diet as all nuts aren’t created equal. Some nuts have more of a particular component or element within them than others. A recent study found that those who regularly include nuts in their diets – specifically walnuts, tree nuts and peanuts – were at a lower risk of developing cardiovascular diseases or coronary heart disease as opposed to those who don’t typically include any nuts in their diets.

A major reason these types of nuts are so beneficial is due to their healthy fat content. For a long time it was thought that fat was the enemy, but after a lot of research and additional studies, it has become clear that there are many types of positive and healthy fats that should be incorporated into a balanced diet. These particular nuts are so helpful because they have a specific type of fatty acid within them that helps to coat and aid the heart – and helps mitigate the risk of heart disease.

The Consumption Correlation

The study found that there was an inverse correlation between nut consumption and the presence of cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease. Participants who consumed walnuts on a regular basis had an almost 19% lower risk of cardiovascular disease and a 21% lower risk of coronary heart disease. Similar numbers can be seen of both tree nuts and peanuts. “Our findings support recommendations of increasing the intake of a variety of nuts, as part of healthy dietary patterns, to reduce the risk of chronic disease in the general populations,” says lead author of the study Marta Guasch-Ferre.

Another researcher, Emilio Ros, added commentary regarding the necessary presence of nuts and the need for even more research: “Ideally, further investigations should test the effects of long-term consumption of nuts supplemented into the usual diet on hard cardio-metabolic events. In the meantime, raw nuts, if possible unpeeled and otherwise unprocessed, may be considered as natural health capsules that can be easily incorporated into any heart-protective diet to further cardiovascular well-being and promote healthy aging.”

Heart-Health Benefits

Largely where we go wrong with our diets, and subsequently our health, is that too many processed items are consumed. The combination of fat and carbs are typically what makes many foods so addicting and satisfying to so many people. The great thing about nuts is that, within necessary parameters, they can provide the type of fat that is tasty and filling, but also provide you with necessary heart-health benefits. Heart disease is absolutely insidious and we should do everything that can be done to study this condition and learn which nutritional choices we should be making.

While nuts are an acquired taste for some, they can be great on salads or as part of fun trail mix. Do be mindful that many nut allergies have developed in recent years and, unfortunately, some people just can’t have nuts as their bodies react poorly to them. Anyone can be allergic to anything, yet the increase in nut allergies seems to be growing at a rapid rate.

New Study Shows Benefits Of Walnuts To Gut Health

One of the most misunderstood aspects of health is that of the gut and digestive system. Digestive issues are downright ubiquitous; they can be caused by many different things and they can also lead to additional health troubles and concerns. In a new study conducted at Louisiana State University, it was found that walnuts can actually positively contribute to the health of the gut by increasing good bacteria.

Walnuts have been dubbed a superfood because of their compositional makeup. They are full of necessary, beneficial components such as alpha-linoleic acid, omega-3 fatty acids and fiber. The nut also contains one of the highest concentrations of antioxidants. Its elements of fiber may be what contribute to its powerful abilities within the digestive system. This study took on finding out exactly why walnuts are essential to the gut.

The Findings

They conducted the study using a rodent model and introduced walnuts to one group while the other was not. The gut bacteria of the rodents was then measured after a specific amount of time and the numbers of the test group that did ingest walnuts was vastly healthier. In fact, the walnut-exposed test group showed a noticeably improved amount of gut bacteria in the descending colon.

The amount of healthy bacteria was increased in the walnut test group. A very important distinction to make in the findings is not only the amount of good bacteria that was easily observed but that the functional capacity of the bacteria was superior. An important bacteria called Lactobacillus was also located in the results.

“We found that walnuts in the diet increased the diversity of bacteria in the gut, and other non-related studies have associated less bacterial diversity with obesity and other diseases like inflammatory bowel disease. Walnuts increased several bacteria, like Lactobacilus, typically associated with probiotics suggesting walnuts may act as a prebiotic,” explained the lead researcher.

The Questions

There is so much unknown about gut health and the reactions the gut has to many different foods and environmental factors. There are largely still a lot of questions associated with the digestive system and how it operates. These types of studies provide quantifiable information as a physiological mechanism to improve health. This is why science and research are so vital – especially in a world that moves at the speed of light. Understanding that eating a few walnuts a day can potentially change your gut health issues would be life shifting for so many.

Many autoimmune conditions have been thought to be linked to gut health in some way. Painful conditions that have a whole slew of symptoms could be better treated just by taking better care of the gut. Typically, the issues aren’t as serious and expansive as those examples. Even so, if the extent of your digestive issues is gas, bloating and occasional nausea, finding a quick fix that will help to regulate your digestive system is a Godsend. No one wants to struggle to go to the bathroom or deal with feeling too full after a holiday party.

Incorporating things like walnuts and other gut-positive foods could be the true antidote for these issues that seem to elude the medical community. With this type of concrete information followed by results, we can better heal ourselves with natural foods and not rely on other, less effective methods.

 

 

 

Foods That Fight Allergies

Vitamin E
Nuts, especially almonds, hazelnuts, and peanuts, are a good source of vitamin E, which helps to minimize inflammation. Eat a single one ounce serving of any of these nuts daily year round to help prevent symptoms. If you do have symptoms, increase the servings or add a few tablespoons of peanut butter as well.

Omega 3’s
Cold water fish like salmon, mackerel, trout, herring, and sardines as well as walnuts and flaxseed contain omega 3 fatty acids, which help fight inflammation. Eat at least two servings of cold water fish each week year round, and three servings during the seasons when you experience airborne allergies. Flaxseed can be added easily too, as it can be found in supplement form.

Zinc
Oysters, shrimp, crab, legumes, whole grains, and tofu are all high in zinc, which has antibacterial and antiviral effects that provide relief for immune systems that are overworked by fighting allergies. Have 6 oysters, 6 shrimp, or a few crabs each week, and twice that when allergies flare. Also have one serving of whole grains, beans, or tofu daily.

Tea
Whether green, white, or black, tea is full of flavonoids, plant compounds that reduce inflammation. Tea also increases proteins in the body that fight infection, again relieving an overtaxed immune system. Have at least one cup a day, and double that when allergies are in season. Have it early in the morning to stimulate the tiny hairs in the nose that keep pollen and dust away.

 

What Your Food Cravings Really Mean

If you’re craving a steak or a burger:
Cravings for red meat can signal a lack of iron, or conjugated linoleic acid, which is a fatty acid that helps your body burn stored fat. A healthier option to replace iron is dark, leafy greens like spinach. This is especially beneficial if your diet is high in fat or carbohydrates. Try incorporating smaller amounts of red meat into your diet so that you don’t go overboard when you do indulge.

If you’re craving baked goods:
This usually indicates that your blood glucose levels are fluctuating. The stress hormone cortisol triggers the release of glucose, and thereby insulin to regulate it. The sugars and carbohydrates in baked goods raise levels of blood sugar and serotonin, which is a brain chemical that invokes feelings of happiness. Instead, try a piece of fruit or a glass of 100% fruit juice. Not only will the natural sugars help level you out, but they also provide nutrients like vitamin C that you can’t get from a brownie.

If you’re craving chocolate:
Chocolate contains an amino acid called phenylalanine, which is essential in the body’s production of brain chemicals dopamine and serotonin. These chemicals enhance mood, and reduce pain. A better choice is dark chocolate as it has less sugar and more cacao. Another option is to mix unsweetened cocoa powder with skim milk and add a natural sugar substitute like Stevia.

If you’re craving French fries:
This usually means you’re lacking sodium, or experiencing a blood sugar imbalance caused by cortisol. The simple carbs in potatoes break down to glucose, and the salt will satisfy your need for sodium. The healthy alternative is salted nuts like almonds, pecans, or walnuts. These are full of sodium as well as healthy omega 3 fatty acids. The protein found in nuts will help keep your energy up as well.